OPINION

Lykourgos Kallergis, a prolific and multifaceted man of the theater

A man of culture with a broad scope of activity, from acting in the theater and teaching to translating and championing labor rights, Lykourgos Kallergis died on Saturday, August 27. He was 97 years old.

One of the last representatives of his generation of Greek thespians, over the course of his lengthy career Kallergis played a multitude of roles on stage, in cinema and on television. He was one of the founding members of the Karolos Koun Technis Theater and a connoisseur of the work of Anton Chekhov, many plays of which he translated into Greek, yet Kallergis was best known for his activism as a unionist representing actors.

Kallergis was born in 1914 in the Mylopotamos region of Crete, the son of chieftains and revolutionaries, whose father, Stavros Kallergis, was one of the pioneers of the student?s May Day movement in 1893.

Lykourgos Kallergis studied theater at Karolos Koun?s Laiki Skini, the precursor of the Technis Theater, and appeared on stage for the first time in the role of Panaretos in the Medieval drama ?Erofyli? by Georgios Hortasis. He remained with the acclaimed director Koun after graduation to become one of the founding members of the Technis Theater in 1957, an institution that continues to produce quality plays to this day.

Kallergis also worked with a variety of different theater companies as an actor, performing in repertory plays ranging from Ancient Greek dramas to works by William Shakespeare and more modern plays by Luigi Pirandello and Eugene O?Neill. He appeared alongside the biggest names of Greek theater, including Katina Paxinou, Marika Kotopouli and Emilios Veakis, and was a member of the cast of the Greek National Theater for 18 years, where he later taught.

His first silver screen appearance was in 1949, in Grigoris Grigoriou?s ?Red Rock,? an adaptation of a novel by Grigoris Xenopoulos. In all, he appeared in around 60 feature films, while his last foray was in 2001, in Dimitris Kollatos?s ?The Death of Alexandros.?

His political career began in the Greek Actors? Guild, in which he served as secretary and chairman, before becoming the head of the Panhellenic Entertainment Federation and serving as an MP for the Greek Communist Party (KKE).